The fight to uphold the rights of the girl child has become fiercer and advocates cut across gender and social status. With the need to educate young girls early, using interventions to enlighten enrollees on appropriate Gender Norms and the Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) program through which young females are empowered with relevant skills and knowledge in HIV prevention and management, self-esteem, goal setting andother areas needed to excel in life;the International Day of the Girl Child 2019 was an opportunity for the USAID-funded HIFASS-LOPIN 3 project to further enlighten318 Adolescent Girls and Young Women in four states of implementation – AkwaIbom, Cross River, Kano and Adamawa – on their rights, menstrual hygiene, the need for education and skill acquisition, HIV prevention, possibilities ahead of themand what to do when faced with traumatizing challenges like sexual abuse.
Other activities for the day included quiz and spelling bee competitions, reusable sanitary pad demonstration and distribution as well as basic self-defense (taekwondo) skills for young girls in a state with high prevalence of sexual abuse.Organization and implementation of the International Day of the Girl Child was done with the support of state governmentsand input from other Implementing organizations like the Perpetua Ugbang Foundation, UNFPA, The Nigerian Red Cross, Basic Rights Council Initiative, Medical Women association, FIDA etc.
Daniella James Effiom, a student of Government Secondary School Big Qua and the president of one of the project’s AGYW groups said she really learnt a lot about menstrual hygiene, is proud to be a girl child and proud to be an African. Abbey Divine Favour Vincent from NYSC Secondary School said she learnt that parents should not force children to get married at a very tender age.
It is expected that those present at the event will act as torch bearers for the cause of upholding the rights of the girlchild.